Skip to comments.America’s ‘cheapest family’: ‘We are hope and change’
Posted on 10/02/2010 7:09:35 AM PDT by Immerito
Economides clan defend buying aging meat and other frugal strategies
As the American economy sputters and families continue to struggle mightily just to keep their heads above water, the Economides family of Arizona believe they provide a model for how to not just survive, but thrive on a tight budget.
Eschewing credit cards, car loans and home equity borrowing, the clan of seven stay solvent and then some on just $44,000 a year and that includes owning a home in the pricey Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.
Mind you, they eat nutritious meals and their children are decked out in stylish, brand-name clothes. The key to living well for less, they say, is to search for bargains, avoid impulse buying and plan, plan, plan.
(Excerpt) Read more at today.msnbc.msn.com ...
Good for them!
“Economides”? Did they change their name too—or did their name become their destiny?
good for them, but does that $44K income include the direct subsidies they get back from the gubmint in lieu of paying any tax? Plus subsidies and reduced fees for that income and family size?
A tax free income of $44K plus thousands in “earned income” credits and “child credits” plus free lunch, free or sliding scale medical care, etc = equals an income of about $75-80K to the poor working slobs who actually pay taxes and also have to pay full freight for everything else
1. Buy a personal hair cutter/shaver and give your boys military crews. This thing paid for itself with the first haircut.
2. Shop resale/consignment. I've gotten real fur coats for $50, designer clothes for a fraction of the cost, and brand name expensive bags for a song.
3. Craig's list for furniture. Solid antiques are selling cheap, and last a lot longer than modern furniture.
4. Join the YMCA. The entire family can go, they are free babysitting, and offer a variety of very inexpensive classes and programs.
5. Instead of video rentals and video games, have family game nights instead. Your kids will enjoy spending time with you!
6. Trips don't have to be expensive. Visit museums instead and pack a cooler with pastries and donuts for breakfast, P&B and bread for lunch, and drinks and snacks. Our family of 5 took a 3-day trip to Norman Oklahoma and spent less than $300 for the entire thing. The most expensive part was the hotel, but we got a fabulous package price on-line. The kids LOVED it.
7. Get into gardening. You can supplement your table with veggies and fruits right from your own backyard.
8. Visit the library. Great brain food for free.
9. Get involved in your church. Lots of churches host wonderful events that are free or cost very little. Get your kids involved in volunteering; will build great character.
10. If you don't need it, don't buy it. If you can do it yourself, do it. I recently recovered my dining room chairs for less than $25 worth of excellent fabric on clearance. Made my set look new.
11. Cut everything. Do you need your house phone? Drop it. Cut your cable package to the minimum. Cut up your credit cards and pay cash.
My family was devastated by medical bills. I've learned, out of sheer necessity, to live the frugal life just to hang onto my house. These habits haven't gone away now that we are financially stable again.
bump 4 l8r
We carried the entire load ourselves, as we should.
That’s all well and good, but how about having an economy that provides for people to live well again? I hate this Obamaesque Dem scolding about people “spending too much,” especially with a president who takes a luxury vacation every other week and government bureaucrats who make an average of 30% more than private sector employees.
Let’s have an abundance mentality, a growth mentality, and not a shriveling down “the cattle are dying and all is lost” mentality.
I’ve done a lot of those. Another thing I have done is to evaluate all of the clutter and excess stuff that has appeared over the years. There is a fair amount of redundancy and fluff. A lot of that meets CL, Amazon, and maybe Ebay. If none of them work, off to the thrift store if it is anything in good condition.
‘on just $44,000 a year’
Isn’t that $30,000 a year above minimum wage?
We were lucky to come through our personal economic turmoil intact. That's because we had money set aside to fall back on when the terrible times hit. We're just now looking to start saving again, but it will never be enough for us to retire on. Medical bills and the hits on our retirement accounts (lost 9 years worth of investments on one account this year) made sure of that. But we're blessed; roof over our head, food on our table, clothes on our backs, and everyone is healthy now.
Sadly, though, I know too many folks who got wiped out or have been struggling so hard for so long they are in danger of losing everything.
So their sane?
Only in 2010 could this be a news story!
“Just $44,000 a year” actually sounds pretty posh here. But the cost of living might be lower in this area. If I’m doing the math right, someone in the story makes $22 an hour. A lot of us here in fly-over country make half that much.
Also, garage sales can be awesome, like thrift stores. I've been known to cruise by at the start of a sale, see something I'd like (but can live without) and then I wait till the sale ends and they are packing up. I come back and if that item is still there, I can usually get it for a fraction. I saw an oil painting once that they wanted $80 for (it's West Hollywood.) I came back five hours later as they were hauling stuff back in and got it for $20.
As cameras followed the family through a Chinese all-you-can eat buffet, Annette crammed a takeout Styrofoam container to just short of the breaking point. We stuff a container full of food, we bring it home and it will feed us for several meals, she explained.
I am sure the all you can eat is no take out. If not the restaurant will go bust.
They take enough to feed the whole family for several meals? That must be a BIG container. I’m sure the restaurant isn’t too happy about it. It’s all you can eat, not all you can carry....
Thanks for posting.
I read the Economides book from several years ago. It has a lot of very reasonable tips. I wonder, though, how much they make from their book series, which inflates the earnings (but may be to help pay for college).
Some buffets will allow you to do a “take out”; instead of sitting inside and eating “all you can eat”, each patron is given a styrofoam container to do take out.
Either have one or go to them. Mrs. panax and I have been doing this for 30 years and have accumulated LOTS of gold and silver jewelry, coins, flatware etc. This morning she picked up a brand new silk blouse with the original store tag price of $45.00 for only a buck. Also, two heavy sterling necklaces for .50 each. I weighed them up at 36.5 grams, which is about $20.00 for scrap price.
Yard/Estate sales have allowed us to have really nice quality items that we normally could not afford. Last week I bought an old oak clawfoot dining table w/3 leaves for $40.00. That weekend before I purchased a Honda XM1800 generator for $60.00 (runs perfect), ran it in the paper for $225.00. When we arrived home I had 4 calls on it already. The paper just came out this morning!
I have picked up incredible ammounts of ammo and old guns throughout the years. I sell what I don't need and keep the best ones.
We do love our Yard sales.
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